Everything that slows us down and forces patience,
everything that sets
us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help.
Gardening is an instrument of grace.
- May Sarton
Shortly after I bought my first home, flush with newness and enthusiasm, I planted an abundance of flower bulbs – tulip, crocus, daffodils. I added bone meal to deter squirrels from eating the bulbs and waited for the wonder of spring color the following year. To my dismay, the only flowers that bloomed from that massive planting were the daffodils. This novice gardener asked around and learned that the squirrels don’t like daffodil bulbs but that they surely ate the tulips and crocus. I was pretty dejected and my future gardening projects mostly were annuals or perennials added as an already existing plant rather than a bulb.
For at least the next seven years, I never tried to plant additional bulbs. Last Fall, I decided to research if there might not be some little-known remedy to deter squirrels from eating flower bulbs and again nearly gave up when most of what I read on the Internet declared it a truly lost cause.
With a tenacity to somehow persevere and make it happen, I finally found a site that said if you wait and plant the flower bulbs in December just before the ground freezes that the squirrels have finished their major foraging period and are not actively seeking out food.
Mother Nature and my own gardening laziness conspired together in this regard. Decembers have been relatively mild in New England the last couple of years and I’m so busy that I do not automatically think to complete gardening chores in a timely fashion. So in mid-December, I easily dug up dirt and planted tulip and crocus bulbs.
Eureka! It worked. This spring I have tulips and crocus pretty much everywhere I planted them. I am giddy with tulip mania – maybe some of it rubbed off on me when I went to Turkey last year. Tulips are the national flower of Turkey and they were revered there long before they came to Holland.
Or maybe I am harkening back to growing up in Michigan with its own renowned tulip festivals in Holland, Michigan.
Regardless of the influence, I am so delighted that I did not give up in my quest to have tulips and crocus bloom in my yard. I am camera happy to take their portraits. This post is scattered with the results of said shutterbugging.
So if you are trying to keep squirrels from ravaging your flower bulbs, take my success story to heart. Plant them late, never give up and you too will find the perseverance of tulips is possible.
Quotes from Sri Chinmoy on this theme:
Inside each one of us is a beautiful flower garden.
This is the garden of the soul. With each lesson
we learn, the garden grows. As we learn together,
our individual gardens form a tranquil paradise.
– Sri Chinmoy
God’s favourite season is spring, when new hope, new life and new creation dawn. What God always wants from Himself is transcendence. This He can do only when He exercises new hope, new life and new creation constantly.
– Sri Chinmoy